Bandcamp Friday May 2024

The Nebulas - Euphorion

It's May and not only have I not finished the Gremmy awards, but I've barely written anything about the slew of remarkable surf releases. So since it's Bandcamp Friday, which is when Bandcamp doesn't take a cut of sales, let me tear through them and give each of these fewer words than they deserve.

Apparently there won't be another Bandcamp Friday until September! So I guess I better get back to just reviewing stuff normally. I've wanted to do that anyway.

The general rule that i follow for these is that they can't be older than the last Bandcamp Friday roundup I did. And yikes, it's been since October. So in the interest of actually getting this done I'll probably be focusing on LPs, which is a shame because there have been some pretty fun EPs too. I'm also leaving off things that I've given a proper review (which is mostly just that )

God of Surf (multiple albums)

I don't know what the deal is with God of Surf. You won't find many details about them, but you will find FIVE records all released within the month of August. I emailed them and their "manager" said they (band, not solo project), just have a lot of ideas saved up. In any case, Quality has not been sacrificed for quantitiy. They have striking production but also some inventive rhythms and instrumentation. "Chilling at the Beach" is the only one that didn't really click with me, aimed more at a "chill" sound.

For whatever reason I approach this group with skepticism, but it's hard to complain about good music.

The Surfers - Surf Party!

Every once in a while I do an Olympics show where I play one surf(ish) band from every medaling country, and I remember Poland being one where my options were very slim. And then we get The Surfers, who had lead up to this record with a handful of covers of vintage surf songs and have finally released an LP of original material. Their sound is excellent, evoking vintage surf music beautifully while staying hi-fi. Dont' be thrown off by the vocals on the first track, they only really use them to accentuate the instrumentals. This is can't-miss for fans of trad surf, AND you probably shouldn't skip over their

The Nebulas - Euphorion

The return of the Nebulas with their 2018 EP Aktion Faction was plenty enough to prove that The Nebulas still had magic left over from the early oughts, and established this record as one of the most anticipated releases of this year. Euphorion delivers. It's loud, relentless, and power-hungry, but is surprisingly grounded in surf (they even put "Trad" in a song title!). The Nebulas' catalog remains pretty much immaculate. I did get a kick out of their departure from understated album covers to NEON SKULL MONUMENT SHOOTING LASERS INTO SPACE. But it fits!

Kólga - Black Tides

When a friend asks "I was listening to a surf band the other day, have you heard of them?" the answer is usually yes. And it's not because of some asshole presumption that I am the all-knowing surf brain, but it's because it's just about always either The Surfrajettes or some band that isn't surf like Beach Fossils, King Gizzard, or The Growlers. So when my friend pulled this band up on his phone and showed it to me, my answer was not "yes" but "YES!"

It seems Kólga's debut album had found its way to him through different channels as a metalhead, and I can believe that, because perhaps moreso than the handful of others I've heard attempting it, Kólga really do seem to be equally steeped in black metal and surf, with their demon tail perhaps dipping into an extra puddle of unique mutagen. It's a very unique, very fun record, and who cares if there's vocals sometimes because it's just as not surf as it is surf. It's just fun!

Terreur Twist - Reverb in Blood

Want more surf metal? Terreur Twist's new LP probably leans more towards surf overall, but I'm hearing more metal than I think I've heard from them in the past, and I'd say that Slayer reference in the title comes across too. Gloomy, discordant, fun!

Mick Beaulieu - Seashore

I'm only just now finding an that Mick did, so I wouldn't say that this record is completely out-of-nowhere, but his 2022 LP, though instrumental, doesn't sound like it has surf aspirations. This LP of instrumentals has a great tradtional surf sound thuogh, with punchy production and nice grit. Love the Dickish energy of "Surf Breaker", but also gotta love the baritone snarl of "Death Wish". A great surprise.

Chris Casello - Surfin' Hayride

I'm not really familiar with Chris Casello, but it seems that while his home turf is rockabilly, he's released surf instrumentals before on his Instrumental Dynamite LP. I think the title of this record hides some of the inventiveness here. Sure, it typically does have a bit of a western swing to it, but a sitar cover of "Suspsicious Minds", the clever exotica shuffler "Taboogie", and spaghetti western rendition of "Jolene" gave me more than I bargained for from this record. Really great stuff, Eddie Angel makes an appearance but it was fun enough that it's barely a highlight.

The Hamiltones - In Space

I was going to say do not buy a digital copy of this record, but they made the decision extra hard by making it "name your price". But at $22 for some of the most over-the-top packaging of a record I've ever seen (including a bonus 7"!), I want you to at least consider it.

The Hamiltones have come a long way from their scrappy lo-fi origins and have moved into multi-instrumental surf soundtracks. It's still very much a surf record, but I always love a few extra layers of madness and change-of-paces. Perhaps some shades of Man or Astro-man?, particularly the later records, but also John Carpenter and Italian composers. Give it a whirl!

Satan's Pilgrims - Peregrinaje Instromundial

Ghost Highway Recordings has had a cool 7" series featuring the likes of The Ramblin' Ambassadors, The Routes, and Satan's Pilgrims, Krontjong Devils, and . At 10 euro, with shipping involved they're not exactly chump change, but thankfully this one is purchaseable digitally. But more notably, this is the debut of new guitarist Garret Pilgrim! And it features some posthumous guitar from Dave Pilgrim, sourced from some old demo tracks. I mean it's Satan's Pilgrims, obviously it's worth your time.

The Meteoroids - S/T

One of the first noteworthy surf LPs of 2024, The Meteoroids' first LP slammed into earth after a few 7"s in 2023. Aggressive, muscular stuff but still very within surf conventions, with members of Boss Fink and The Baffles.

Cowabunghouls - S/T EP

Strong debut from this St. Louis based group, with a few tracks that are solidly horror, surf but sometimes they're just a good surf band. I thought it was a clever name until I said it on air and felt like I was saying "cowabunghole". Maybe that's the idea? Who doesn't love Beavis and Butthead?

Amphibian Man - Zenith

Amphibian Man has re-embraced the reverb. Today's incarnation has some progressive leanings that keep me from calling it a real surf record, but don't keep me from enjoying it!

Jaguatirica Fever - Felino

Debut LP from Brazil has that loud but not noisy twang that reminds me of groups like Huevos Rancheros. I found myself humming some tracks from this after listening.

Indy Tumbita & the Voodoo Bandits - La Dan​ç​a Ritual da Salamandra

There was a period when Indy Tumbita was putting everything he'd worked on up on bandcamp, which meant multiple bandcamp notifications per day, so I almost missed this. I LOVED his previous record and this is more of that. A fair amount of vocals for sure, but I feel it fits enough, especially if you like cumbia.

The Seismics - Lost Summer

If you don't count The Frigidaires' LP with its ambiguous release date, this is my pick for the first good surf release of the year from back in January. The Seismics were a big surprise with a wide-spanning sound that takes on many forms, evoking the likes of The Sentinals, The Centurians, Duane Eddy, but also exotica and spaghetti western. I want to believe that "The After After After Party" is a 30 Rock reference.

Los Twangheads - The Dark Surf Experience

I thought I would only be featuring 2024 stuff on here, but I was dismayed to find that I've never said a word about this December 2023 release. I love this record. I love their name that would sound utterly stupid to non-surf fans. I mean I guess it still sounds stupid, but it at least speaks to us. This record has such a frantic, wild energy that keeps you locked in from start-to-finish. It feels heavier than it actually is, it's mostly just manic and fun!

Welp, it's bedtime. I can think of several more, but I'm going to be woken up all night by bandcamp notifications as is.


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